Special Holiday Treat — Raggedy Ann and Andy come to the Los Altos History Museum

By November 10, 2016May 25th, 2017Press Releases

Smith Gallery: November 11, 2016 through February 26, 2017

Thurs-Sun, Noon-4pm

Los Altos, CA – During this year’s holiday season, the Los Altos History Museum welcomes Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy to the Smith Gallery located upstairs in the J. Gilbert Smith House. The exhibit tells the history of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy showcasing over 60 dolls adopted by Diane Simmons over the last 40 years.  In addition, the upper gallery of the Museum will have a large tree decorated with additional dolls.

Raggedy Ann and her equally spirited rag brother, Raggedy Andy, are the world’s best-known and most adored rag dolls. Long-term museum volunteers, Diane Simmons and Pinky Whelan, both former antiques dealers, curated the exhibit.

Simmons adopted her first Raggedy Ann doll when she saw her in a pile of items in a thrift shop. Her outfit was not traditional but her embroidered face was that of Raggedy Ann. When she checked for the heart on her chest, she found not only a heart but the message,” To Alely love Grampa and Grandma.” It was impossible for Simmons to walk way from this doll abandoned after so much love and care went into its making.  Soon she was joined by another and another. “My dolls are not collected but rescued, “ said Simmons. Later she acquired commercial dolls when the Knickerbocker Company lost the exclusive license in 1983.

Raggedy Ann was created in 1915 as a doll, and gained popularity when Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle was published in 1918. The sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories (1920), introduced her brother, Raggedy Andy. Gruelle’s daughter, Marcella Delight Gruelle, was his inspiration.  After her untimely death at 13, he worked on additional stories.  Marcella is a recurring character and her own book, Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story published in 1929. Starting in 1935, the dolls are always imprinted with an “I Love You” on the chest. For over 100 years, the Raggedy Ann’s friendly and familiar face is selected as a special gift for a special child. Raggedy Ann, is the most popular doll ever sold in the U.S, unchanged in in a world of technological novelties.

The J. Gilbert Smith History House is located in one of the last active apricot orchards in the Santa Clara Valley, adjacent to the Los Altos History Museum. This 1905 shingled farmhouse was built with many Craftsman-style features and features.

period furnishings, toys and decorative arts that all rekindle memories of a simpler time. History House continues to thrive among the buildings on the Civic Center site.

The Smith House was our first museum, opened in 1977. In the spring of 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened in a modern, impressive three-level, 8,200-square-foot building, built entirely with private donations. Ownership was transferred to the City of Los Altos in 2002.

The Museum and J. Gilbert Smith House are open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm.  Admission is free. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, go to www.losaltoshistory.org, email hello@losaltoshistory.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.


Media Contact:    Marketing@losaltoshistory.org

Los Altos History Museum: Crystal Taylor, 650.948.9427 x14, ctaylor@losaltoshistory.org